Aye what's up Oreste! I'm such a BIG fan of your work and versatility between your shooting styles! But first, give us a little background about yourself and what got you interested in the kind of photography and content you produce?
Thank you very much, I really appreciate all of the support from the UG family. A little background about myself: I am a Philly based visual artist. I do not really classify myself as just a photographer since I also do graphic design. My interest in graphic design came about around my sophomore year in high school. I wanted to make a banner for my friend's YouTube channel. I never opened up Photoshop before that so I was completely clueless. As I messed around, I found experimenting with photoshop and manipulating different photos to be very fun. It became a hobby of mine which led me to designing for some gaming teams like the Obey Alliance. I've always strive to be different in terms of my style when design but I felt like I was missing one very key item that would push me to the next level, my own camera. When I designed previously, I used stock images and images that was provided to me rather than taking the images on my own. It was a common thing in the gaming gfx community to used stock images that wasn't our own but I always felt off about that. Around 2016, I stepped away from the gaming community to find myself as an artist and the first step was getting my first DSLR. My initial intentions was to make designs for clients and using my own images if needed but as time went on, I fell in love with photography. Going out to take photos was an escape for me as I was dealing with the stress of college and other issues in my life. I did not abandon graphic design since I was and still am fond of creating digital artwork so with my desire to be different, I pushed myself to do crazy edits and try to follow the beat of my own drum when it comes to what I post.
On average, how long does it normally take you to edit one of your city shots? Do you go out to shoot with an idea in mind beforehand or what's your creative process?
It takes me me about hour or two to do those edits, sometimes even more than that. Sometimes I start messing around with different techniques and just see if something catches my eye. Even though I have an idea of what my edit will be like, which is usually a day to night transformation, I figure out the stuff like coloring and selective sharping while I edit.
What would you say you enjoy doing more? Shooting portrait work or your creative city edits?
That's a tough question. I enjoy doing both of them but for different reasons. I enjoy shooting portraits because of the opportunity to shoot with others and build connections. I love creating with others. I enjoy doing city edits because I feel a great sense of satisfaction when it turns out well. It takes me back to when I did designs and manipulated different images. Doing my city edits lets me tap in to my experience. Plus, seeing other people's reaction to my before and afters is so cool. My next step to this is to push my edits to my portrait work. Shooting portraits editing in that style is a challenge I welcome.
So like any creative chasing their dreams, I'm sure you have experienced both positive and negative feedback. How do you handle the pressure of putting out work to the public/social media? I see so many people post and then delete stuff before people really even have a chance to see it. I think people tend to forget that maybe everyone (your followers) may not all be on social media at the moment so it may not do so well. But taking it down does even less for you in my opinion. What's some advice you can give about having the courage to put your creativity out to the world?
It took me a while to get over that feeling of my work not being good enough because it was not doing well in terms of likes and retweets. Sometimes that question does pop up in your head as a creative, especially if you post something that you feel like should get more attention than the work you posted previously. I think as a creative posting on a site like Twitter or Instagram, we have to accept that we do not have complete control over who sees our work. There are so many creatives sharing their work and sometimes work will be flooded out or might not even show up on people's feed. There are so many different things that can make a post not do well number wise but does that mean the work being posted is bad? Not at all. My advice is to stick with your work, do not take it down. All it takes sometimes is for one person to share it for it to be seen by many others. That one person can come later on down the line.
Well I'm sure you know we're a big fan of quotes and inspiration; What are some wise words you can leave us with? It can be a quote/saying, w/e you've found to be helpful along the Creative Journey.
Time is not blessed to everyone, so have fun with the time you have. I stand by that as sometime we take certain things for granted instead of making the most of it. When you are creating, do not rush your art if you do not need to. Take your time and you might stumble upon your next go to shooting/editing style. Push yourself to go above and beyond what is expected, which includes pushing yourself to take a step forward from your previous work. Only you know what that step forward is, do not let numbers decide that for you.